Portland ceramic company Mudshark Studios touts Oregon-made

| Print |  Email
Articles - February 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013

BY EMMA HALL

0213 FOB Dispatches OregonMade 01
Above: Brett Binford and Chris Lyon, co-founders of Mudshark Studios
Below: A worker pours a ceramic mold
// Photos by Sierra Breshears
0213 FOB Dispatches OregonMade 02

From vases that look like trophies to vintage urinal reproductions, Mudshark Studios is an alternative to “Made in China.” The company offers ceramic mold making, production services and product consulting at their 17,000-square-foot Northeast Portland location, not far from the basement where the company began in 2006. Co-founders Chris Lyon and Brett Binford started out making mostly one-offs for artists like Jim Riswold. By the beginning of 2012, they had seven employees and had expanded into their current location in March. Less than nine months later, they had 26 employees and had already outgrown the new headquarters.

But they didn’t outgrow the one-off productions and small runs of items. Mudshark makes large runs of up to 3,000 items for established designers such as Schoolhouse Electric in Portland and San Francisco-based McGuire Furniture, a subsidiary of Kohler, but it also makes as few as 50 units for smaller local artisans. “We’re the only ceramic subcontractor that will do small runs,” Lyon says. “We’re bringing back local manufacturing in a global economy.”

The company’s goal for the near future is to make that business model of small runs efficient and profitable. As the company matures, it’s getting better at providing quotes to the clients, Lyon says. They help artists alter their designs to be “production friendly.” “A lot of the job is educating designers on ceramics,” Lyon says.

Future goals include expanding to a second building that would handle only larger runs, and then to locations outside of Oregon. “We’ve always kind of had the idea of one in the East or South,” Lyon says. They also hope to have enough employees to allow Lyon and Binford more time to work on personal projects, like the Portland Growler Company (PGC), which they started with fellow designers in the summer of 2010. PGC makes $65 ceramic growlers with wide-mouth flip-top lids, and with Oregon’s beer boom, they have become extremely popular. The company is already Mudshark’s third-biggest client. “Last year we couldn’t keep up with the demand for 100 growlers a month,” Lyon says. “This year it’s the same problem, but with 1,000.”

 



 

More Articles

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS